My thanks, Gwendalyn, for the terrific review of The Rose and the Whip today on your instagram site at https://www.instagram.com/gwendalyn_books_/. Since romance is your thing, I thought I’d talk today about Lidia’s relationship with her husband, Eliakim. I don’t think of The Rose and the Whip as fitting in the romance genre, but, hey, what do I know at this stage of my writing life. But I was interested in including some romance in the book because I believe it had to have played a role in Lidia’s personality, and, by extension, her decision to take action by walking naked through the meeting-house. There is nothing written to suggest neither the Puritans nor the Quakers lacked in passion or romance. In fact, I found much to suggest, even in Priest Seaborn Cotton’s writing, there was every bit as much as we experience today. I have a picture of a painting I find extraordinary, and I used it as inspiration for one section of the book. Eliakim finds Lidia sitting, naked, on their bed looking out of a window at the landscape beyond their home, cherishing the cool air against her skin. He traces the landscape of her back while it is smooth like cream. My imagination tells me he appreciated her, even in her nakedness, and she responded to that. The next day she will take the whip to her back, making her skin something foreign to his touch, and she fears he would not want to look upon her or touch her again because of it. But instead, he convinces her it will be nothing more than a new landscape to explore.
“Thou has a skin of perfect beauty, a landscape I know well,” he
whispered.” . . . But, on the morrow, the landscape would be
marred and changed to something raw and strange. . . “Tomorrow
will bring thee a new landscape to explore.” I said.
If there is real love and romance, this is surely it.
See more from Gwendalyn at https://gwendalynbooks.wordpress.com/ and the Musee d'Orsay and Maurice Denis at https://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/accueil.html?cHash=1030a57d48.
Variation on Nu, femme assise de dos (Naked Woman Sitting Back), Maurice Denis, 1891
Musee d'Orsay, Paris, February 2010